Typhoid vaccine

What is Typhoid?

Typhoid is a serious disease and may even result in death. It is caused by the bacteria, Salmonella typhi, which are closely linked with the bacteria Salmonella responsible for causing food poisoning.

Person infected with typhoid will have high fever, headache, fatigue, stomach ache, loss of appetite, and sometimes a rash.¹ If not treated, it can even lead to death. The symptoms can be mild to severe and generally tend to disappear within 2-5 days after treatment is started with an antibiotic which works on them.

People who may already be infected with typhoid, can spread the disease to others. Such people are called ‘carriers’. These people may not have any symptoms but have the bacteria in their system and hence may pass the infection to others.²

How is the disease spread?

Typhoid is generally spread through contaminated food and water.¹

People can contract the infection by eating food or drinking beverages that have been prepared or handled by someone already infected with typhoid. People may get the disease by drinking water that is contaminated by sewage containing the S. typhi bacteria.

About the vaccine:

Typhoid vaccine can prevent typhoid. There are 2 types of vaccines – Killed vaccine and live vaccine or intramuscular and oral vaccine.³

The killed vaccine is given in the form of injection, while the live vaccine is given orally (by mouth). The injection lasts for up to 2 years. However, the oral vaccine protects from the disease for at least 5 years.

Who should get the vaccine?

Typhoid shots (killed vaccine) are given at least 2 weeks before travel. It would be ideal if it is given 1 month prior to travel. Single dose is enough to provide protection. Booster dose is needed if a person is at a high risk for developing the disease.

Live vaccine requires 4 doses and it comes in the form of capsules. One capsule is to be taken every alternate day for a week (1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th day). It is recommended to give the last dose 1 week before travel, so as to allow the vaccine some time to show its effect. For people who are at a high risk to develop disease, a booster dose is needed every 5 years.

What is the schedule for vaccination?

The killed vaccine is given in the form of shots or injection. Usually, single dose is enough and it should be given when the child is between 9-12 months of age. If required, the booster dose may be given when the child is about 2-3 years of age.

How effective is the vaccine?

  • The killed type is more effective compared to the live variety and is given intramuscularly
  • For killed vaccine, single dose is enough to provide enough protection that can last for the lifetime
  • In case of live vaccine, booster doses are required every 5 years

What are the possible side effects?

Some people may develop redness, soreness or swelling at the site of injection, after having typhoid vaccine.6

Very rarely do some people develop high fever after taking the vaccine shot.6

 

What if a dose is missed?

If you miss out on taking any dose of typhoid vaccine, you should immediately take the missed dose. And, accordingly re-schedule your next doses from then, for every alternate day.

When you miss taking the vaccine as scheduled or as per your doctor’s instructions, the vaccine may not work properly. So, it’s important to follow the vaccination schedule as directed by your consulting doctor.

 

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References:

1 BMC Public Health. 2017 Jan 5;17(1):23.

2 MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016 Jun 17;65(23):606-7

3 Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(2):CD001261.

4 Epidemiol Infect. 2015 Dec;143(16):3520-7.

5 Vaccine. 2014 Jun 17; 32(29): 3577–3579.

6 J Travel Med. 2007 Nov-Dec;14(6):386-91.